Mental Edge: How can you develop a strong level of confidence

Photo: Peter Ackerman

Mental Edge: How can you develop a strong level of confidence

High School Sports

Mental Edge: How can you develop a strong level of confidence


Team success is a commitment, so it is important for teammates to support each other’s confidence and help them refocus when they are distracted. Have you ever noticed that when your teammates get distracted or lose confidence or dwell after a mistake, it can change momentum and affect your teams’ overall performance? It happens all the time in team sports, so athletes must help each other get back in the game.

Here are five keys to winning confidence:

  1. Don’t buy in to negative self labels: Self labels you adopt from others or make up on your own, such as big-game choker, are super destructive beliefs that hold athletes back from reaching their full potential and performing well under adversity. You can easily discard what others say about your ability, but it’s very hard to discard your own negative self-labels.
  1. Be careful of super strict expectations: When you demand that you play at your peak every game or that you make no mistakes or turnovers in a game, your thinking can come back to haunt you, especially when you fall short of your expectations. So play with high confidence and no expectations.
  1. Overcome your internal demons: Part of staying confident is battling your own internal self-doubt. No one is perfect and in times of adversity and mistakes, it’s tough not to doubt your ability to win. I teach my students how to counter self-doubt with statements of confidence.
  1. Be your own best coach: When you’re faced with adversity or down in a game, do you lose faith or continue to grind it out? Does the self-talk turn negative or defeatist? The top athletes don’t give in or give up. They look for opportunities, such as big plays or turnovers, to turn around the outcome of a game.
  1. Use your past experience to feel confident today: Most athletes would say that past success and experience is the No. 1 source they have for feeling confident today. You can tap into past success to help you feel confident today by reviewing in your mind past accomplishments. Ask yourself: Why do you deserve to feel confident today?


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